Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Intercultural Politics in the Mediterranean

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will present students with current issues in international relations in the Mediterranean. The main focus will be the relationships between various communities differing in cultural identity markers particularly religion, ethnicity, language, historical background, political environments and intercultural relations from within the Mediterranean space, as well as from outside yet with a direct stake in the geo-politics of the Mediterranean .

Students will be encouraged to address fundamental matters starting with whether the Mediterranean may be spoken of in terms of a region and any inherent or related cultural identity, drawing on historical contexts and with particular reference to colonialism. References to cultural studies, postcolonial studies and cultural policy studies will be made in order to contribute to a wider context surrounding current international relations questions.

In more precise terms, the no small matter of European identity with regard to the Mediterranean will be addressed, ranging from general presentations on how antiquity and modernity have been used to forge current debates, to drawing on particular case studies with regard to how territories as diverse as the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East including Israel and the so-called Arab World interact with one another, and with the rest of the Mediterranean known as the Northern Shore, along cultural lines.

Students will also be encouraged to assess how different political movements are inspired by cultural manifestations, as in the case of pan-Arabism and Islamism on the one hand and female emancipation in the public space on the other, within a larger context of culture and conflict. The conflictual nature of cultural relations, the appeasement of political opponents on the basis of culture or through cultural means, and the resorting to culture and the arts, including heritage, for conflict resolution, will be drawn upon to consolidate the research engaged in and the discussion pursued.

The study-unit will also address a series of conventions emanating from various international fora and invoked in different ways by disparate parties to address matters of cultural rights and the protection of cultural heritage. The use and misuse of cultural agendas in war and violent action taken against and imposed upon different people in the Mediterranean will be addressed.

As suggested above, the Mediterranean has had its global position changed over time, and this will be addressed in the light of shifting international relations the world over, with particular references to the Gulf, China and the US. In counterpoint to globalising tendencies, the phenomenon of territorial or city diplomacy, centring on the internationalising development of urban spaces, will also be referred to.

Study-unit Aims:

The main aim of the unit is to contribute to a better acknowledgement and understanding of how cultural matters influence and shape international relations in the Mediterranean. Secondary aims relate to the development of critical skills towards reading materials and analytical tools applied towards a space as rich, diverse, complex and changing as the Mediterranean.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Learn about theories of cultural relations, the historical and cultural context of those relations in the Mediterranean, and the links between various conflicts against a broad cultural background. The interesting role of Malta in intercultural politics in the Mediterranean will also be explored.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Manifest critical skills towards textual and verbal information and a sharpened analytical approach towards the Mediterranean context, to clearly assess and discuss these matters will be encouraged to develop.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Compulsory reading:

- Hamid Dabashi (2012) The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism. London: Zed Books.
- Louise Fawcett (2016) International Relations of the Middle East, Oxford: OUP.
- Samuel P. Huntington (2002) The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order, London: Simon & Schuster.
- Mac Lynch (2012) The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East. New York: Public Affairs.
- Edward W. Said (1994) Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage.

Suggested reading:

- Albert Camus (1946) The Stranger, New York: Vintage.
- Henry Frendo (2012) Europe and Empire: Culture, Politics and Identity in Malta and the Mediterranean. Malta: Midsea Books.
- Bahgat Korany (2010) The Changing Middle East: A New Look at Regional Dynamics. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.
- Amin Maalouf (1989) The Crusades through Arab Eyes. New York: Saqi Essentials.
- Eugene Rogan (2009) The Arabs: A History. London: Penguin.
- Karsten Xuereb (2012) The Impact of European Influence on Cultural Relations in the South Mediterranean (unpublished thesis;, Universitat Rovira i Virgili.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Research Paper Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Karsten Xuereb

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.